Rather than having big and bulky storage units placed in every free spot available, why not create multifunctional features to serve the same purpose while giving your home some original areas of interest? In smaller homes, rather than using the main space to create such features, it would be best to make use of existing nooks and niches which would otherwise be too small to serve a purpose. Here are a few ideas.
A lightweight suspended staircase could be a really eye-catching design within an open space. This usually eliminates the possibility of using the space below as it is most commonly used as a closed off-utility room of some sort. This design (please refer to article picture) shows how to use the underside of a lightweight staircase as a work space and library while still keeping an open minimal feel. Slim bookshelves extend from the back of every other thread, while one shelf extends just enough to allow for a desk work surface. This allows for a small study and library in a space that would have otherwise been compromised to allow for proper circulation and viewing space around the staircase.
Standard kitchens hardly ever use the full height available. This allows flexibility to install in spaces with lower ceilings. This height makes use of space at a height that is comfortable for most people to reach. Kitchens with limited storage space could often benefit with that extra storage for items that are not used regularly. When custom making a kitchen, extra cupboards using the full height available would be practical.
Alternatively, why not create a feature to store your scarcely used items? Take a built-in kitchen for example and you will get the idea. The kitchen layout is made to look built into the wall as if the room was built around this design. It eliminates awkward edges and makes the room look complete. However, this idea also, very often, wastes spaces. To save the space used and still accomplish the desired built-in look, use gypsum and wooden framework. The section above is used as display and storage area (if any). This could be customized according to an individual’s requirements. The storage often has a mix of open space for anything like fruit bowls, serving dishes, jugs and any other rarely used but also decorative kitchen items; and also incorporates wine racks. A similar concept could be applied in any high storage area such as wardrobes and storerooms.
The living room, being most people’s main entertaining space, needs concealed storage. Not every room can afford the space for a large bookcase, and most often these days, trends show that large grids of open shelving are being used rather than closed units.
To give an area a different and interesting finish, paneling, using any material depending on your design scheme, can give you a luxurious feel as well as concealing those “not to be seen” items. In this design, I’ve used paneling to surround an electric fireplace. To avoid having your fireplace looking like another flat screen television, setting it within a material different than the wall behind gives it a more authentic look. Without creating storage, this could be done using various types of stone to resemble an old wood-burning fireplace, where the stone facing goes all the way up to the ceiling as if it is covering a chimney. The wooden paneling used here uses the same concept with a different material as well as having an added bonus storage area.
Other, more easily available storage areas within a living room could be found in coffee tables or integrating shelving within the structure of the sofa. Many companies these days offer such options.